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Chapter 2: A pilgrimage to your own being
Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Zen Bodhidharma
BODHIDHARMA'S BLOODSTREAM SERMON
EVERYTHING THAT APPEARS IN THE THREE REALMS LEADS BACK TO THE MIND. HENCE, BUDDHAS OF THE PAST AND FUTURE TEACH MIND TO MIND WITHOUT BOTHERING ABOUT DEFINITIONS.
BUT IF THEY DON'T DEFINE IT, WHAT DO THEY MEAN BY MIND?
YOU ASK. THAT'S YOUR MIND. I ANSWER. THAT'S MY MIND. IF I HAD NO MIND, HOW COULD I ANSWER? IF YOU HAD NO MIND, HOW COULD YOU ASK? THAT WHICH ASKS IS YOUR MIND. "THROUGH ENDLESS KALPAS WITHOUT BEGINNING, WHATEVER YOU DO, WHEREVER YOU ARE, THAT'S YOUR REAL MIND, THAT'S YOUR REAL BUDDHA. THIS MIND IS THE BUDDHA, SAYS THE SAME THING. BEYOND THIS MIND YOU'LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER BUDDHA. TO SEARCH FOR ENLIGHTENMENT OR NIRVANA BEYOND THIS MIND IS IMPOSSIBLE. THE REALITY OF YOUR OWN SELF-NATURE, THE ABSENCE OF CAUSE AND EFFECT, IS WHAT'S MEANT BY MIND. YOUR MIND IS NIRVANA. YOU MIGHT THINK YOU CAN FIND A BUDDHA OR ENLIGHTENMENT SOMEWHERE BEYOND THE MIND, BUT SUCH A PLACE DOESN'T EXIST.
TRYING TO FIND A BUDDHA OR ENLIGHTENMENT IS LIKE TRYING TO GRAB SPACE. SPACE HAS A NAME BUT NO FORM. IT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN PICK UP OR PUT DOWN. AND YOU CERTAINLY CAN'T GRAB IT. BEYOND THIS MIND, YOU'LL NEVER SEE A BUDDHA. THE BUDDHA IS A PRODUCT OF YOUR MIND. WHY LOOK FOR A BUDDHA BEYOND THIS MIND?
BUDDHAS OF THE PAST AND FUTURE ONLY TALK ABOUT THIS MIND. THE MIND IS THE BUDDHA. AND THE BUDDHA IS THE MIND. BEYOND THE MIND THERE'S NO BUDDHA. AND BEYOND THE BUDDHA THERE'S NO MIND. IF YOU THINK THERE'S A BUDDHA BEYOND THE MIND, WHERE IS HE? THERE'S NO BUDDHA BEYOND THE MIND, SO WHY ENVISION ONE? YOU CAN'T KNOW YOUR REAL MIND AS LONG AS YOU DECEIVE YOURSELF. AS LONG AS YOU'RE ENTHRALLED BY A LIFELESS FORM, YOU'RE NOT FREE. IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME, DECEIVING YOURSELF DOESN'T HELP. IT'S NOT THE BUDDHA'S FAULT. PEOPLE, THOUGH, ARE DELUDED. THEY'RE UNAWARE THAT THEIR OWN MIND IS THE BUDDHA. OTHERWISE, THEY WOULDN'T LOOK FOR A BUDDHA OUTSIDE THE MIND.
BUDDHAS DON'T SAVE BUDDHAS. IF YOU USE YOUR MIND TO LOOK FOR A BUDDHA, YOU WON'T SEE THE BUDDHA. AS LONG AS YOU LOOK FOR A BUDDHA SOMEWHERE ELSE, YOU'LL NEVER SEE THAT YOUR OWN MIND IS THE BUDDHA. AND DON'T USE A BUDDHA TO WORSHIP A BUDDHA. AND DON'T USE THE MIND TO INVOKE A BUDDHA. BUDDHAS DON'T RECITE SUTRAS. BUDDHAS DON'T KEEP PRECEPTS. AND BUDDHAS DON'T BREAK PRECEPTS. BUDDHAS DON'T KEEP OR BREAK ANYTHING. BUDDHAS DON'T DO GOOD OR EVIL.
TO FIND A BUDDHA, YOU HAVE TO SEE YOUR NATURE. WHOEVER SEES HIS NATURE IS A BUDDHA. IF YOU DON'T SEE YOUR NATURE, INVOKING BUDDHAS, RECITING SUTRAS, MAKING OFFERINGS AND KEEPING PRECEPTS ARE ALL USELESS. INVOKING BUDDHAS RESULTS IN GOOD KARMA. RECITING SUTRAS RESULTS IN A GOOD MEMORY. KEEPING PRECEPTS RESULTS IN A GOOD REBIRTH. AND MAKING OFFERINGS RESULTS IN FUTURE BLESSINGS. BUT NO BUDDHA.
The realization of enlightenment, or buddhahood, is difficult. And it is also not difficult. It is difficult if you start looking for it. It is not difficult if you simply sit down, settling within yourself in calmness, quietness, being just purely aware.
Then you are the buddha, then you are the enlightenment. It is not that you become enlightened, it is not your becoming. It is your very being, it is you in your simplest, spontaneous nature.
Enlightenment is your self-nature.
Once somebody attains to enlightenment, the greatest difficulty is to convey it to those who are living in darkness and who have never seen any light. It is almost like talking about light to blind people. One enlightened master has been reported to have said, "My whole effort of conveying my experience is just like selling glasses to blind people."
Hence, many of those who have attained have remained silent, and those very few who have spoken, know that their words cannot carry their enlightenment, its beauty, its joy, its fragrance; that the moment the experience is translated into words, something essential dies. Only a corpse reaches to the other person.
But out of compassion, hoping against hope, a few enlightened people down the ages have made every effort to convey to you that life is not all that you think it is. It is much more, infinitely much more.
But no enlightened man has ever written a single word, for the simple reason that the spoken word has a certain warmth, and the written word is absolutely cold. The spoken word has the presence of the master, but the written word has no presence of the master. The spoken word is not just a word; there are so many other things which may be indirectly conveyed to you. The presence of the master, the blissfulness of the master, the grace of the master, his inviting eyes, his heart calling you, invoking you for a journey, for a pilgrimage to your own being ...all this is absent in the written word.
Hence, no enlightened man has ever written anything. But disciples have taken notes. All the literature that exists in the name of enlightened people is nothing but disciples' notes. The problem becomes more and more complicated because the disciple is writing something which he does not understand. He loves the master, he has fallen into a deep love affair, but he does not understand the mystery of the master. He is under his magical influence, but he does not know his secret. Unless he knows his own secret he will never know the secret of the master, because they are not two things.
The disciple thinks, has been thinking for ages, that the words of the master should not be lost; they are so precious, they are pure gold. At least something for the future generations should be collected. But his understanding is very small, and he writes according to his understanding. First, much is lost when the master speaks; then much is lost when the disciple hears; then much is lost when the disciple writes. And the disciple writes in one language, and then it goes on being translated into other languages. It becomes a faraway echo of the original.
For example, Bodhidharma spoke in Chinese, which was not his mother tongue. He was born in India. He learned Chinese. Even in your own mother tongue, to give expression to the experiences of your innermost life sources, silences of your heart, and blissfulness of your being, is difficult -- even in your mother tongue. But to speak in a language which he has just learned, and Chinese is not a simple language .... If one really wants to be a scholar it needs at least thirty years, because it has no alphabet, it is a pictorial language. It is a very primitive sort of language.
The alphabet brings language to a very simple phenomenon. But a nonalphabetical language, like Chinese, or Korean, or Japanese, is very difficult for one who is not born in those lands. You have to remember thousands of pictures. Those languages are pictorial. Each thing has a certain symbolic picture and unless you remember thousands of symbolic pictures, it is impossible to speak, it is impossible to write. Bodhidharma had only three years while he was moving towards China to learn as quickly as possible before he reached there. He did in three years, almost thirty years' work.
Naturally, what he has said is far from his experience. And the difficulty is again multiplied because these sutras are translated from Chinese into English. For example, I will just give you one word which is very central to these sutras, the word `mind'.
Anybody reading these sutras is going to understand exactly the opposite of what Bodhidharma must have meant, and the reason is the word `mind'.
In English there is only one word for your thinking process, and that is `mind'. And in the English language there is no word which can denote something beyond the thinking process. The whole philosophy of Gautam Buddha and Bodhidharma is how to go beyond the thinking process. In Sanskrit, in Pali, there are different words: MANUS, which is the root of the English word `mind', exactly means THINKING PROCESS; then CHITTA means CONSCIOUSNESS BEYOND THE THINKING PROCESS.
Those who are very alert, and those who have not only been just scholars but have also experienced something about meditation -- wherever in these sutras you find the word `mind', a meditator would put just its opposite, `no-mind'. English has no word for no-mind, so it is just an arbitrary creation. Everywhere in these sutras, where mind is mentioned, please read no-mind. Otherwise you will go absolutely on a wrong track.
The sutras: EVERYTHING THAT APPEARS IN THE THREE REALMS LEADS BACK TO THE no-MIND.
The translator says, "to the mind." Mind is something to be transcended, mind is a disease; meditation is an effort to go beyond it. Hence, I will read everywhere instead of `mind', `no-mind', to correct the translation. The translation is done by somebody who understands language but who does not understand meditation.
EVERYTHING THAT APPEARS IN THE THREE REALMS ... Which are the three realms? The body, the mind, the heart ...leads to the fourth, TURIYA, which can be translated only as no-mind; leads to a silence where there is no ripple of thought, where time disappears, space disappears and just a pure consciousness, not conscious of any thing, but conscious of itself ...a self-luminous awareness remains. Everything leads to this self-luminous awareness.
The people who understand meditation have always translated the word CHITTA as `no-mind'.
HENCE, BUDDHAS OF THE PAST AND FUTURE TEACH MIND TO MIND, WITHOUT BOTHERING ABOUT DEFINITIONS. This is so ridiculous, but scholars are really doing something that they are not prepared for. The right thing would be to say, "Buddhas of the past and future, teach no-mind to no-mind, from silence to silence, from presence to presence. And naturally, in that transfer from silence to silence, in that transmission from being to being, there is no place for definitions."
Definitions are part of the mind. The moment you transcend mind, you transcend all definitions. Now the disciple's mind comes in: BUT IF THEY DON'T DEFINE IT, WHAT DO THEY MEAN BY MIND? This is so stupid, it is unbelievably ridiculous. The disciple himself who has taken these notes is puzzled. He asks, BUT IF THEY DON'T DEFINE IT, WHAT DO THEY MEAN BY MIND? And he answers to satisfy himself: YOU ASK. THAT'S YOUR MIND. I ANSWER. THAT'S MY MIND. It is true about the disciple, but not true about the enlightened being, who does not express himself through the words. Even if he uses the words, that is only a device to create moments of silence.
The real transfer happens in the gaps. Nothing is said, and nothing is heard, and yet the message takes a quantum leap from one being to another being. This is the beauty and the miracle and the magic that happens between the master and the disciple.
The disciple quotes Bodhidharma as saying, IF I HAD NO MIND, HOW COULD I ANSWER? IF YOU HAD NO MIND, HOW COULD YOU ASK? THAT WHICH ASKS IS YOUR MIND. THROUGH ENDLESS KALPAS, through endless ages, WITHOUT BEGINNING, WHATEVER YOU DO, WHEREVER YOU ARE, THAT IS YOUR REAL MIND, THAT IS YOUR REAL BUDDHA.
He is getting really confused. But anybody will be in the same position, not knowing that meditation is a transcendence, a freedom from mind. It is a beyond space, where no functioning of the mind can ever reach.
And that is your true nature, that is your enlightenment, that is your buddhahood. And out of that silence, whatever you do is enlightened. Out of that silence, whatever grows is a lotus of paradise. Out of that silence you cannot do anything wrong. In fact, out of that silence the very idea, the distinction between wrong and right, good and bad, disappears. Whatever you do out of that silence is simply existential, the way it should be. It is not your effort, it is not your thought-out, pre-planned act; it is simply your spontaneous outpouring.
THIS MIND IS THE BUDDHA. Let me correct it.
THIS no-MIND IS THE BUDDHA. BEYOND THIS no-MIND, YOU WILL NEVER FIND ANOTHER BUDDHA. TO SEARCH FOR ENLIGHTENMENT OR NIRVANA, BEYOND THIS no-MIND, IS IMPOSSIBLE. THE REALITY OF YOUR OWN SELF-NATURE, THE ABSENCE OF CAUSE AND EFFECT, IS WHAT IS MEANT BY no-MIND. YOUR no-MIND IS NIRVANA -- but remember wherever I am saying no-mind, in the sutra itself is written mind. I disagree with it totally, and Bodhidharma would disagree with it, and Buddha would disagree with it, and anybody who has even a little glimpse of meditation will disagree with it.
YOU MIGHT THINK YOU CAN FIND A BUDDHA OR ENLIGHTENMENT SOMEWHERE BEYOND no-MIND, BUT SUCH A PLACE DOESN'T EXIST.
TRYING TO FIND A BUDDHA OR ENLIGHTENMENT IS LIKE TRYING TO GRAB SPACE. SPACE HAS A NAME BUT NO FORM. IT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN PICK UP OR PUT DOWN. AND YOU CERTAINLY CAN'T GRAB IT. BEYOND THIS no-MIND YOU'LL NEVER SEE A BUDDHA. THE BUDDHA IS A PRODUCT OF YOUR no-MIND.
In fact no-mind and buddha are synonymous. But the poor disciple who has taken these notes goes on using the word `mind' which is absolutely absurd.
WHY LOOK FOR A BUDDHA BEYOND THIS no-MIND?
BUDDHAS OF THE PAST AND FUTURE ONLY TALK ABOUT THIS no-MIND. THIS no-MIND IS THE BUDDHA. AND THE BUDDHA IS THE no-MIND. BEYOND THE no-MIND THERE IS NO BUDDHA. AND BEYOND THE BUDDHA THERE IS NO no-MIND. IF YOU THINK THERE IS A BUDDHA BEYOND THE no-MIND, WHERE IS HE?
The same mistake continues all along the sutra. It is the ancientmost sutra about Bodhidharma, and for almost fourteen centuries it has been accepted as Bodhidharma's teaching. And the reason is that nobody tries to understand the experience by experiencing it. People simply read scriptures, they become knowledgeable, but deep inside the ignorance prevails. They start talking about light, but their blindness continues. That's why he says, YOU THINK THERE IS A BUDDHA BEYOND THE MIND. There is the buddha ONLY beyond the mind; it is not a question of thinking, but this stupid disciple says there is no buddha beyond the mind. He has made it a point that buddha and mind are synonymous. Then what is the need of meditation? You all have minds; you have enough of buddha -- do you need more mind?
You need freedom from the mind, freedom from all the fetters of thought, emotions, moods, sentiments; they all constitute your mind. And beyond them there is a witness, a watcher. That watcher is the buddha.
I have to be hard on this disciple, although he has done a service to humanity. He has kept a record of Bodhidharma's words, although he is not capable of keeping the record in a right way. But still, his record can be corrected by anybody of the same state as Bodhidharma. So there is no problem. He has done a great service, although he is stupid.
Once in a while, he repeats Bodhidharma: YOU CAN'T KNOW YOUR REAL no-MIND AS LONG AS YOU DECEIVE YOURSELF. AS LONG AS YOU ARE ENTHRALLED BY A LIFELESS FORM, YOU ARE NOT FREE.
What is your imprisonment? Your mind is your prison. There are different prisons, but they are all prisons. The Hindu has a different kind of prison, different architecture; the Mohammedan has a different prison, different architecture; the Christian has a different prison, and so on and so forth. But they differ only in their architecture. As far as the prisoner is concerned, they are all prisons. And people move from one prison to another prison in the hope that perhaps they will find freedom. The Christian becomes the Hindu, the Hindu becomes the Buddhist, the Buddhist becomes the Mohammedan and they are simply changing prisons. From one program they move to another program, and what is needed is a deprogramming. That's what, in scientific terms is the meaning of the word `meditation' -- deprogramming.
If your mind can be completely deprogrammed, it can become a completely erased tabula rasa, a clean slate from which every knowledge has been erased. This innocence is the beginning of no-mind. This innocence is the birth of the buddha in you.
IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME, DECEIVING YOURSELF DOESN'T HELP. IT IS NOT THE BUDDHA'S FAULT. PEOPLE, THOUGH, ARE DELUDED. THEY'RE UNAWARE THAT THEIR OWN no-MIND IS THE BUDDHA. OTHERWISE, THEY WOULDN'T LOOK FOR A BUDDHA OUTSIDE THE no-MIND.
The greatest delusion according to those who have reached to the highest peak of awareness, is searching and seeking outside yourself for the truth, the meaning of existence, or the deathless, eternal current of life. Mind always tries to look outside, because the very function of the mind is to work in the world. That's why mind is perfectly okay in science, in business, in economics. In everything that is outside you, then mind is perfectly the right means.
But that which is within you is beyond mind's reach. You will have to leave the mind, and move above and away. The moment you become only a witness, watching the mind as something outside you, you have come home. But the man who took the notes and the man who translated them into English ...perhaps neither had experience of meditation. They go on repeating the word `mind' where only `no-mind' is ever possible.
BUDDHAS DON'T SAVE BUDDHAS. Now this I can say must have come from Bodhidharma. This is such a tremendously meaningful statement, and so outrageous that it is beyond the capacity of the poor disciple, who cannot even understand it. He has simply written it, he must have heard it. Perhaps Bodhidharma was again and again repeating it. This is one of the most essential teachings of Gautam Buddha, that nobody can save you.
Jesus says, "I am the savior." If you compare Jesus and Bodhidharma, you will be in for a great surprise. Jesus says, "You are the sheep, I am the shepherd and if you get lost, I will find you." And it looks, for those who don't understand, to be a great compassionate ideology. Jesus seems to be of great compassion, love, kindness. In fact Christians say that he sacrificed himself to save humanity, but nobody asks why humanity is not saved. The poor fellow died unnecessarily.
I have always been wondering .... I have been listening to Christians, and without feeling any embarrassment they go on saying that Jesus gave up his life to save humanity. I used to be very friendly with a preacher, Stanley Jones, who was a reknowned Christian missionary and had a very philosophical bent of mind. Whenever he used to come into the city where I was, I always used to go to listen to him. One day it was too much; he was continuously repeating that "Jesus is the only savior."
I had to stand up. I said, "It is not my business, I am not a Christian and in fact, I should not create any disturbance in the church; I don't belong to the congregation. But you are repeating such nonsense. You go on saying that he saved humanity by giving up his life on the cross. But I don't see humanity saved anywhere. He could not even save himself."
But all the religions born outside India have the idea of the savior. Mohammedanism, Judaism, Christianity -- three religions are born outside India and all three have the idea of the savior. In India there are four religions: Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism. Jainism and Buddhism are the only two religions which simply deny the very concept of saving anybody, because they say -- and I agree with their concept -- that it is condemnatory, it is humiliating. The very idea that "I will save you" makes me higher than you, and holier than you. I become special. I am the only begotten son of God, or I am the only prophet of God, or the only messenger of God, and you are just ordinary human beings.
Bodhidharma's statement is, BUDDHAS DON'T SAVE BUDDHAS. He is saying you are all buddhas whether you know it or not, and how can anybody save you? How can one buddha save another buddha? All that a buddha can do is to wake you up. That is not much of a saving. When you wake somebody up, do you think you are holier, and special, and you have done a great service to humanity, by waking a poor fellow who was sleeping?
BUDDHAS DON'T SAVE BUDDHAS. This is a very pregnant statement. It gives equality to every being. The only difference, which is not much of a difference, is ...everybody is a buddha; a few are asleep and are unaware of who they are, and a few have become awakened and know who they are. But essentially, there is no difference at all, and there is no question of saving anybody. It is his right if somebody wants to continue to sleep; it is his birthright. You cannot forcibly wake up somebody because that is interfering with his freedom.
It happened: I was sitting on the banks of the Ganges in Allahabad. I had gone to speak in a Christian college in Allahabad, and the Christian college is just on the bank of the Ganges on a very beautiful spot just near the railway bridge. I was sitting on the bank, and there was nobody for miles and suddenly a man came and jumped. I thought perhaps he was taking a bath, and as he jumped, he started shouting, "Help me, help me." He was just close to me.
For a moment I thought, "What is the matter? If he wanted to be helped, why has he jumped?" But I thought it is better to first bring him out. If I start thinking about it, by that time he will be finished. So I jumped. He was a heavy man but I pulled him out somehow, and I felt a certain resistance. It became even more puzzling, he was shouting, "Save me, I am drowning." But when I was trying to bring him out, I felt that he was not being helpful, he was resisting my effort.
I said, "You seem to be mad. Do you want to be saved or not?"
He said, "Please save me." So I pulled him out. And when he was out, he started becoming very angry at me saying, "Can't you understand? I was committing suicide."
I said, "You should have said so before. So why were you shouting, `Save me'?"
He said, "It is natural. I wanted to commit suicide but deep down somewhere there was still a desire to live. That's why I started shouting."
I said, "Okay." I simply pushed him back. I said, "If this is the case, then I will not do anything against you."
He started shouting again, "Are you mad or what? Do you want to kill me?"
I said, "Now I have nothing to do with you. Whatever I have done, I have undone it. Now I will sit silently here and watch."
Somebody else came by and jumped in and took him out. This time he did not give any resistance but he went on looking at me. I said, "What is the matter, where are you going?"
He said, "Is it compulsory to commit suicide?"
I said, "It is not; I have never told you to commit suicide. You were committing suicide; have you forgotten?"
He said, "You seem to be a strange man. When somebody commits suicide, or tries to commit suicide, people prevent him -- but you help them."
I said, "I am ready to help in any way. If you want to get out of the river, I am ready to help. If you want to go in the river, I am ready to help. I don't want to interfere in your lifestyle whatever you want to do."
He said, "I don't want to die."
I said, "That's perfectly okay. You can go, but think twice. You may have to come back again."
He said, "I am not going to come back."
I said, "It is up to you. I am just reminding you that the idea of suicide will come again to you, and this is a good chance. Don't miss it. Ordinarily, there are so many people on the bank. Just by chance there is nobody -- only a man who is ready to help in any way, this way or that."
He said, "As long as you are here, I am not going to come back!"
I said, "It is up to you. Without me you will be in difficulty."
Bodhidharma is saying, BUDDHAS DON'T SAVE BUDDHAS. Buddhas simply make every effort to wake people to their own reality, but it is not a question of saving. They are buddhas already, nothing has to be added. This is one of the greatest contributions of Buddhism and Jainism. But again and again that disciple is bound to commit mistakes; he is simply helpless. This sentence he has put exactly as it should be.
But again he starts: IF YOU USE YOUR MIND TO LOOK FOR A BUDDHA, YOU WON'T SEE THE BUDDHA. AS LONG AS YOU LOOK FOR A BUDDHA SOMEWHERE ELSE, YOU WILL NEVER SEE THAT YOUR OWN no-MIND IS THE BUDDHA. He is saying mind, I am reading no-mind.
AND DON'T USE A BUDDHA TO WORSHIP A BUDDHA. Again, this statement I can say with absolute authority, comes from Bodhidharma. DON'T USE A BUDDHA TO WORSHIP A BUDDHA. Just as a buddha cannot save another buddha, so it is absolutely idiotic that one buddha should worship another buddha. Buddhism is against worship.
The last words of Gautam Buddha were, "Don't make my statues, don't make my temples, because my whole life I have been teaching you that you are a buddha, and you don't have to worship another buddha." And particularly if a stone buddha is being worshiped by a living buddha; this is sheer absurdity.
AND DON'T USE THE MIND TO INVOKE A BUDDHA. BUDDHAS DON'T RECITE SUTRAS. BUDDHAS DON'T KEEP PRECEPTS. AND BUDDHAS DON'T BREAK PRECEPTS. BUDDHAS DON'T KEEP OR BREAK ANYTHING. BUDDHAS DON'T DO GOOD OR EVIL.
These statements must be coming directly from Bodhidharma because it is beyond the capacity of the disciple to say such great things. Bodhidharma is saying that buddhas don't follow any discipline except their own awareness. They don't follow any scriptures except their own light. Neither do they follow anything nor do they break anything. They do neither good nor evil. They simply act out of spontaneity which is beyond good and evil.
Buddhas are not puritans or moralists. They act out of pure consciousness and their actions are not decided by any ideals, by any precepts, by any sutras. They don't recite any sutras. They don't bother about holy scriptures because they know their own awareness is enough to show them the path and to lead them to their ultimate destiny.
TO FIND A BUDDHA, YOU HAVE TO SEE YOUR NATURE. WHOEVER SEES HIS NATURE IS A BUDDHA. IF YOU DON'T SEE YOUR NATURE, INVOKING BUDDHAS, RECITING SUTRAS, MAKING OFFERINGS AND KEEPING PRECEPTS ARE ALL USELESS.
These words certainly have the ring and the sound of a man of awareness. They must be coming from Bodhidharma. But the disciple is not satisfied, he must be feeling a little uneasy. The whole idea that reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless ...he must be feeling uneasy because these are all irreligious ideas. No ordinary religion is going to accept them.
Hence, the disciple immediately puts his own ideas. INVOKING BUDDHAS RESULTS IN GOOD KARMA. Now this is his addition. Just now it was USELESS, but he could not feel at ease with the word useless. He had to write it because Bodhidharma must have been saying it, but he is free to dilute it. In fact, he starts changing its whole tone.
INVOKING BUDDHAS RESULTS IN GOOD KARMA. RECITING SUTRAS RESULTS IN A GOOD MEMORY. KEEPING PRECEPTS RESULTS IN A GOOD REBIRTH. AND MAKING OFFERINGS RESULTS IN FUTURE BLESSINGS. BUT NO BUDDHA.
The disciple has been trying hard to put the words of Bodhidharma exactly, but it must have been a great effort and a great tension for him because what Bodhidharma is saying can be understood only by people of great meditation. It is not possible for it to be understood by so-called ordinary humanity. It goes against all ordinary religions, ordinary prophets, ordinary messengers of God, ordinary holy scriptures.
Feeling uneasy, the disciple makes some additions on his own part. Now if a man reads these sutras without having a taste of meditation, he is bound to be in confusion, and he is bound to be misled by the additions. The disciple is mixing, and polluting the pure crystal clear water of Bodhidharma with all kinds of crap, because he cannot tolerate such a crystal clear approach, so refined.
Although there have been many enlightened people in the lineage of Gautam Buddha, Bodhidharma became the most famous. He is not the founder of Zen Buddhism; the founder of Zen is Mahakashyapa. But even Mahakashyapa has faded. Bodhidharma is not the founder but he has become the most important enlightened person after Gautam Buddha just because of his outrageousness, his non-compromising approach. He is not going to console anybody; he is simply going to say the truth. Whether it hurts you or heals you it is up to you, but he is not going to add a single word just to console you, because every consolation is putting you into sleep. Every consolation is a kind of opium.
Bodhidharma is absolutely strict. That's why he is painted as a ferocious looking man. It does not mean that he was like that. He was a prince, and I don't think that the way he has been painted down the centuries is his actual photograph. It is rather the experience of those who had to deal with him -- he was ferocious. And he was ferocious because he would not say any consolatory words, he would simply say the naked truth. If it hurts you, good. Perhaps you need to be hurt and only that will awaken you. You don't need any consolation, because that will put you into a deeper sleep.
Bodhidharma is unique, and I can understand why his disciple could not understand. That must have been the case with many people who heard him. At the last moment when he wanted to choose a successor -- he had chosen only four disciples, and from four he was going to choose one successor. He was really strict; perhaps the most strict master the world has ever known, but the most compassionate, because his strictness is nothing but his compassion.
Next: Chapter 3: Beyond this nature there's no Buddha
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